Harmony Chapter 4: Landing

Filed: Harmony @ 6:10am on November 9, 2010 No comments yet! :(   Word Count: 1,338
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This entry is part 4 of 28 in the series Harmony

I stopped caring. I almost stopped feeding myself. If I had still been in economic class, I would have most likely starved to death without anyone noticing, but in First Class, Paulio made sure I ate enough each day, going so far as dragging me naked from the pool so I would eat.

Cathy started to come into my room in the morning to dress me up and start my day. Without her, I would have most likely slept in forgetting the schedule.

It’s not like there is a sun to tell you when it’s daytime and when it’s in the middle of the night. They do dim the lights to give an illusion of the passage of time, but you can easily ignore it.

The ship captain even decided to try to cheer me up by singing me lullabies when it was time for me to get to sleep.

Nothing worked. It was simply too much routine for me to handle. When I first arrived in First class, the change of settings blinded me to the fact that I was still in route to a forced exile.

I thought of killing myself a few times but I knew it would get my new friends into trouble and I kind of wanted to prove to my parents that I could still make it on my own.

But at that moment, I didn’t even managed to think that far out. I just wanted my nightmare to finish and get away from this boring ship.

I wanted to tear apart the carpet in the library, throw the books in the recycling system and just smash the various TVs set up for our entertainment.

Fortunately for my mother’s company, I just didn’t care enough to even lift a finger.

I just drifted.

Until finally, the ship’s captain dragged me to the bridge to show me a slowly growing star.

“We are in the Sigma 8 system. The inhabited planet is the 4th from the sun. We have reached the 11th planet’s orbit and will be in orbit in less than 12 hours. You will finally be able to leave the ship !”

I was hypnotized by the fireball. It would be most likely the last star I would feel heat for the rest of my life, but it was also a new start.

Instead of simply being the heiress to a giant corporate empire I could finally be myself, whatever that meant.

Eventually, the ship reached orbit and an automated shuttle was dispatched from the space port. Had the shuttle malfunctioned, I could have used the ship’s own shuttle, given a few more minutes in the company of the pilot, but sadly, I had to say goodbye to everyone at the airlock after several months of acquaintance.

I took the little things that were really mine: the clothes I had on my back when I left home, my ticket and the clothes the Clark family gave me and stepped in the shuttle with the determination of a death row prisoner after his last meal.

As the shuttle navigated the empty space toward the space port, I could see containers being loaded from orbit or released from orbit automatically by the ship’s computer system.

Eventually, the shuttle entered the docking area of the port when I would need to clear customs and possibly get a full medical exam.

Sadly, it was a fully automated port without personnel but my ticket automatically allowed the port to exchange medical data with the ship, thus expediting my immigration process.

Within 5 minutes, I was cleared for landing and guided toward the planet-side shuttle dock .

Like most space ports, this one had 2 docks: one for shuttles travelling to the surface port and another one for shuttles travelling to ships in orbits.

Practicality would have dictated a single one, but since the port served as customs for the entire planet, the dual dock model was mandatory to force passengers from going trough the port itself.

I wouldn’t say I was excited to be about to land on the planet, but it would feel great to once again feel almost normal gravity and simply have a sun light up my face.

I sat in the shuttle, which was most likely waiting for other non-existing passengers, while using the shuttle’s information desk to get information on Sigma 8.

I learned that since the axis wasn’t tilted like on Earth, the planet didn’t have seasons. Instead, near the equator where all of the citizens were living, it was between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius all year long. In fact, the lowest temperature recorded during the day in the capital city was 18 degrees Celsius. Nights were still rather warm, rarely dipping under 16 degrees.

Speaking of night and day, the planet was rotating a little slower than the earth, causing 28 hours day.

The humidity of the planet was very low with less than 1 cm of rainfall per year and an almost complete lack of cloud cover. The planet’s atmosphere perfectly blocked UV rays, preventing sun burns. Due to the relatively even temperature, the only wind on the planet was caused by the light coriolis effect.

Every few degrees of latitude away from the equator lowered the temperature by a degree Celsius, with north and south poles completely covered in ice all year long.

The lack of massive bodies of water required building pipelines from the northern glaciers where an automated facility fed water for the cities and the new forests and plantations.

The year officially lasted 423 days but because the lack of seasons, the planet decided to adopt the Earth calendar.

I learned that almost all of the planet’s exports were in minerals including diamonds, gold and platinum which were now relatively rare on Earth and rarely found on colony.

The lack of water however is seriously hampering the terraforming project, forcing the agriculture to fight for every acre of new land as additional glacier water was slowly introduced in the equator ecosystem.

Total population is rather low, with less than 4,000 people living on the surface. Oddly enough, the hard mining conditions meant the population is almost 70% female, something rare nowadays. I was relieved to learn that English was the official language of the population, it would have been weird to be unable to speak to the residents.

The colony was listed in the info system as being independent so it meant my father’s company had only recently purchased it and I was perhaps the first representative of the Galactia Colonial Management Trust to set foot on the planet.

Well, I would have been if I had not been disinherited but that was another story.

I managed to take a nap on the shuttle floor before it finally lifted off. As soon as I left the port, I discovered the ship that brought me here already gone. I had only one way to go: down.

The trip was uneventful and I quickly landed in the surface port, one of the first structures to have been built on the planet by the initial seeding colonization firms.

If I had studied history, I would have been able to get the name of the firm just by looking at the subtle differences in the facilities but this didn’t matter much. Generally speaking, all colonies had roughly identical surface ports.

They were rather useful as they had an automated medical bay which was refilled from orbit every few months by a special shuttle.

The passenger shuttle however only lands when someone is travelling to the surface and its arrival didn’t escape the notice of the local population.

As soon as the door of the shuttle opened, I was cheered a warm welcome by the inhabitants who were most likely just as nervous as I was to meet their newest immigrants.

One thing however immediately caught my eyes. The men were dressed in regular summer clothes with t-shirts and shorts but apart from shoes and socks, every single women and girl was entirely naked, regardless of their age.

I also noticed a few mothers hiding the eyes of their children to prevent them from seeing what was obviously something indecent to them: a clothed woman.

What did I get into !

Series Navigation«Harmony Chapter 3: First ClassHarmony Chapter 5: Customs»

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